UIDAI does not have any procedure to remove Aadhaar number from its database. A Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of UIDAI has informed(pdf), in response to an RTI filed requesting procedure for removing the number.

The RTI sought answers to the requests received for authentication, confirmation, or matching of any of the RTI applicant’s data held by the UIDAI, the details of the persons or entities asking for such authentication and certified copies of requests and responses sent on the same. UIDAI CPIO initially said that his data was not shared with anyone, but the appellant questioned this response as a gas agency and a bank had used his Aadhaar information for authentication.

The RTI applicant was of the opinion that once the Aadhaar data had been used by a third-party to authenticate his information, UIDAI should provide an option to delete his details from its database as it no longer served any purpose.

The RTI information was revealed as part of an investigation (pdf) by the Central Information Commissoin (CIC) based on a complaint filed by the RTI applicant on UIDAI’s response.

The commission stated that it will not go into this issue by itself, but will raise this matter in appropriate fora if the appellant wishes to. The RTI seeking information regarding  sharing of UID data was filed in September. The RTI was received by the CPIO next month, but when he did not receive a response even after a month, he filed an appeal to the First Appellate in November. The appellate court did not conduct any investigation and it was at this point that the RTI applicant approached CIC.

Why is this important?

UIDAI has till now issued 60 crore Aadhaar number, which includes several people who created the id just to avail cooking gas subsidies, for which the Aadhaar card was previously mandatory. However, with the Supreme Court recently ruling that Aadhaar card is not mandatory for social services, there might be several people who would want to cancel it to prevent abuse. This despite a recent court order that the government cannot share data from Aadhaar with external agencies without user consent.

It is also worth noting that Aadhaar number on its own does not serve any purpose other than act as an id proof, which makes it very different from a PAN card, driver’s license or passport which have primary uses other than being an id card. That being the case, it is important for UIDAI to make it possible for individuals to remove their details from its database.

Also read: What has changed in India’s privacy bill from 2011 to 2014